An 82-year-old Colorado woman expecting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a local vaccination clinic was mistakenly injected with an empty syringe, according to a local report.
On Jan. 12, Rosalee Pike, 82, was taken by her granddaughter, Jamie Withnell, to a COVID-19 clinic at a mall in Pueblo, Co., to receive her first dose. A trained medical professional administered her the jab, and after receiving it, Pike was asked to move to an area where officials would monitor her for any adverse reactions to the shot.
“The mistake was discovered through PDPHE’s normal safety processes. As soon as the mistake was discovered, we consulted with our top medical officer and determined that the person was safe. The individual then received a vaccination,” health officials said in a statement.
Fifteen minutes later, “we were notified that there was a problem with her vaccine and that she never received it,” Withnell told local news station KOAA.
Sure enough, a photo that Withnell took while her grandmother received the shot showed that there was indeed no vaccine in the syringe.
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“I zoomed in on the syringe and the plunger was all the way down,” she said. “There was nothing in it.”
“Prefilled syringes had been delivered to my work station. When I took a syringe and injected the vaccine — the syringe was empty,” the medical worker who administered the jab to Pike said in an incident report from the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE), as reported by KOAA.
“We confirm that a contract nurse administered an empty syringe to an older Coloradoan, mistakenly thinking it was filled with a vaccine. The syringe was new, and there was no risk of it being used, as used syringes are discarded immediately, per normal safety protocol,” a spokesperson from the PDPHE said in a statement to the news station.
“The mistake was discovered through PDPHE’s normal safety processes. As soon as the mistake was discovered, we consulted with our top medical officer and determined that the person was safe. The individual then received a vaccination.”
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Despite being an isolated incident, health officials said they have since implemented “additional safety measures” to ensure such an occurrence doesn’t happen again, such as “limiting the number of people filling syringes and having fewer additional people in the room.”
“We are reviewing safety protocols with all contracted-nurses again and provide safety briefing each day before the vaccination clinics begin.”
To date, more than 9,700 Pueblo residents have received the vaccine, the PDPHE said. Overall, more than 375,000 vaccine doses have been administered in Colorado to date, per official estimates.